God forbid fools are not sitting here: Pakistan chief justice

Reko Diq sits over the 5th largest deposits of gold and copper in the world.

Islamabad: "God forbid fools are not sitting here," said Pakistan Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry when the Supreme Court was informed that a company was offering to sell its licence to prospect for copper and gold in Balochistan to another firm for just USD 100.

An advocate representing the Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) told the Supreme Court on Thursday that BHP, a company exploring copper and gold deposits at Reko Diq in Balochistan, was offering to sell its prospecting licence to a new buyer for USD 100 after it achieved nothing despite wasting 10 years and millions of dollars, Dawn reported on Friday.

"The BHP lost interest after getting zero results from EL-5 (Reko Diq) despite spending millions of dollars and went out in the market to hunt for a prospective buyer by offering for USD 100 the prospecting licence it got from the Balochistan government," Advocate Khalid Anwar told a three-judge bench.

Chief Justice Chaudhry, however, noted that nobody would accept this as "God forbid fools are not sitting here".

"You cannot even buy a shirt from Marks and Spencer for USD 100, not even a common shirt, what to talk of an exploration licence," remarked the chief justice.

The bench was hearing a set of petitions filed to block the award of a possible copper and gold exploration contract to TCC - a Canadian and Chilean consortium of Barrick Gold and Antofagasta Minerals - to look for gold and copper in Reko Diq in Chaghai district of Balochistan.

The media report said that Reko Diq sits over what is believed to be the fifth largest deposits of gold and copper in the world.

Anwar said BHP was selling with a condition that the new firm would work at the site for six months and if it finds precious deposits, the BHP would then enter into an alliance with it for sharing profits from the venture.